Andrew Tobias | Barack Obama | David Mixner | Democratic Party | News | Washington DC

Democratic Party LGBT Fundraiser Tainted by Obama DOMA Brief

Obama's now resoundingly criticized Department of Justice defense of DOMA brief could not have come at a worse time for a Democratic Party LGBT fundraiser headlined by Vice President Joe Biden scheduled for next week in Washington D.C. As you may have read by now on Politico, Americablog, or Pam's House Blend, I had planned on attending but early yesterday made a decision that I would not. I wrote DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias (who is a friend outside of any professional relationship we have) and told him that I did not feel at all good about the lack of movement within the Obama administration on LGBT issues and given the content of the Department of Justice brief I could not attend in good conscience. My colleague, Towleroad's political director Corey Johnson, is not attending either.

MixnerDavid Mixner has bowed out as well, he wrote yesterday:

"I will not attend a fundraiser for the National Democratic Party in Washington next week when the current administration is responsible for these kind of actions. How will they ever take us seriously if we keep forking out money while they harm us. For now on, my money is going to battles within the community such as the fight in Maine or the March on Washington! I am so tired of being told by Democratic operatives to 'suck it up' because so many other profound issues are at stake. It is as if our fight for our freedom is single handedly responsible for the fate of all other issues. Bullshit. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for others to 'suck it up' for us and finally, without conditions, join our fight for our freedom!"

Alan van Capelle of the Empire State Pride Agenda has told John Aravosis at Americablog that he too has pulled out.

Tobias, who agrees with those critical of the brief, still believes that the President meant what he said in his promises to LGBT people, he told Politico today: "If this debacle of a brief represented the President's views, I'd boycott too. [I] [t]otally understand all the hurt and anger, thought Joe Solmonese['s] letter to the President was spot on. Still personally totally believe in the President. His Pride Proclamation, and his call to repeal DOMA, are genuine."

Pam Spaulding, who published a leaked list of those scheduled to attend, has called upon her readers to ask Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis and other leaders why they are attending.

Writes Ben Smith: "Organizers, I'm told, are scrambling to get visible White House action on gay issues in advance of the June 25 dinner to prevent it from becoming a protest stage."

UPDATE: HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse, former Clinton aide Richard Socarides out...

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  1. Thank you Andy and Corey for not backing down. It is well past time to stop putting up with how they have treated us all these decades. I'm sending back all email requests for money from dems telling them to remove my name from thier lists due to the inaction on gay issues. I don't have much money either but I gave heavily (for me) to Obama's campaigns and to Geoffrey Kors CA anti prop 8 thing in honour of Del Martin this past year. This time I'll only give to local gay equality/rights specific issues.

    Posted by: Jersey | Jun 16, 2009 3:50:23 PM

  2. Thanks Andy. I know this has been a rough time for you.

    Shut. The. Motherfucker. Down.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 16, 2009 3:56:55 PM

  3. @ MICHAEL
    "There is NO message louder at a fundraiser than empty chairs and empty donation envelopes." Perfectly said!!!!

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jun 16, 2009 3:58:42 PM

  4. the DNC is getting around to reaping what its been sowing - lotsa talk, little action. its time to stop being thankful for "gay-friendly" politicians who attend Pride parades and show up to fundraisers to collect $$$. They'll continue to tell us that while our shameful lives will require years of legislative dithering for any substantive change - so please keep on contributing.

    I've voted Dem largely because of my sexuality for the past two decades. GLBT has for too long been a safe constituency for the DNC. With the likes of progressive state officials moving the ball forward, and vanguard positions being advocated by new activists like Meghan McCain (yes, her!) - the complacency of the DNC and Dems should be rattled, shaken and told to wake up, get it done or get pushed outta the way.

    Posted by: brian | Jun 16, 2009 4:04:29 PM

  5. Last week just before the DOJ brief came out I sent the DNC a check. I cannot wait for the call asking why I stopped payment on it.

    I don't pay the Republicans for the screwin' they give me regularly, why should I pay the Democrats?


    Posted by: Sean | Jun 16, 2009 4:06:28 PM

  6. Well, the DOJ stance is not substantially different from Obama's stated opinion on the campaign trail. And if the gay community really wants to use their "support" for Obama as reason why the President somehow "owes" them, it might be good to remember that gays and lesbians voted OVERWHELMINGLY for Hilary Clinton in the '08 primaries. Only in the race against a Republican would they support Obama.

    Posted by: Biograph1985 | Jun 16, 2009 4:16:21 PM

  7. I am not suggesting that we would ever vote or cast a vote that would assure something as horrifying as a Palin presidency, so we've not lost our minds, but my partner and I have re-registered, dropping our names from the Democrat Party. Between Reid, the DOJ and Obama, we no longer feel represented by the Democrat Party. Of course, we can still vote Democrat if we wish, but a drop off in registrants should send a messages, as well as a drop in donations.

    Posted by: MackMike | Jun 16, 2009 4:19:38 PM

  8. Donated to Obama and the DNC.

    Never again until he takes some action on DOMA and DADT.

    I will not wait to fund his "Second Term".

    Posted by: RJP3 | Jun 16, 2009 4:30:50 PM

  9. Good for you, Andy.

    Posted by: Max Ehrsam | Jun 16, 2009 4:35:20 PM

  10. Andy, your early principled stand got the ball rolling, and is resulting in a loud and clear message to the DNC that we will not be their doormats. Before they ask for money, they had best show us some action. I am grateful for your action and all you do for the cause.

    Posted by: ChristopherM | Jun 16, 2009 4:40:10 PM

  11. Americablog is now reporting that HRC has also pulled out of the fundraiser!

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Jun 16, 2009 4:42:50 PM

  12. Sometimes in the wake of bad news, with the Obama administration equating gay marriage with INCEST, you get people angry. And this is good because it galvanize people to start getting involved with the organizations that work for equality for all.

    And if it means the Obama and Democrats lose our money, so be out. It is their own doing.

    The Democrats have this idea of "where are they going to go". How about to a 3rd party. And hey, if the Democrats lose elections, then it is THEIR FAULT, not ours.

    Is the Obama that homophobic and stupid to disregard the GLBT community? We have more time than others and $$$ money. He will lose our support fast should he not do anything now.

    Obama refuses to say anything about Prop 8, makes fun of us protestors (I was one of them) out at the Beverly Hills hotel, brings in HOMOPHOBIC preachers, etc.

    Obama panders to the 20% republicon who will not do anything for him - or vote for him. Meanwhile he loses 10% support (and more if you count progressives and families of the GLBT community.)

    Meanwhile, HRC has pulled out of the DNC fundraiser.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 16, 2009 4:51:34 PM

  13. I admire your choice not to go - and I appreciate it. I hope many many other people make the same choice. That will speak very loudly!!!

    Posted by: Dennis | Jun 16, 2009 5:12:14 PM

  14. The only person in the Obama Administration who has done anything for the LGBT community has been Obama's once rival Hilary Clinton. I'm glad I voted for her in the primary and donated to her campaign.

    I guess we're still out in the cold with Obama. No worries, we'll take this state by state just like we have for the past 8 years.

    Posted by: VpO | Jun 16, 2009 5:15:28 PM

  15. Andy, I applaud your stance and your efforts to give this more visibility. I am sick and tired of being used as a cash machine.

    Unfortunately, many gays are not so principled. You know the whole social climbing fire island crew will happily do anything for a pix with Pelosi. They wrote checks to Regan for Christ sake and saw no conflict.

    Oh wait, double (high) income household with no kids. I pay more taxes than most people earn. I don't need your stinking healthcare reform, or your social security. I don't have kids that need a decent education, or not be drafted for some war.

    Maybe those rich gay bastards have a point.

    With friends like these...

    Posted by: Mitch | Jun 16, 2009 5:23:37 PM

  16. I've been out for less than 7 months, but for the last couple years I've been a political junkie. In fact, it was due to the movement of the community for Obama and subsequently against Prop 8 that led me to come out and join the movement. And immediately thereafter a friend told me about this site. Not only has it been crucial for me to learn about LGBT political activity, it has turned me on to other great blogs (namely Joe's and Pam's) and filled me in with other great, fun information.

    I've been full of pride from Pittsburgh's Pride this past weekend, but that pride was amplified when I read on Pam's blog that you pulled out of the fundraiser. Thank you for not only giving me the tools to stand up for the LGBT community, but doing so yourself.

    Posted by: Joshua | Jun 16, 2009 5:34:11 PM

  17. It will not matter what he does to remedy this situation, if he does anything! The mere fact that the silence from the (p)resident on this issue is so deafening and insulting is why I will never cast my vote for him EVER again.

    As far as I can see, he is no friend of our community.



    Posted by: Godfrey | Jun 16, 2009 6:15:03 PM

  18. Thank you Andy. I would like to get more updates on others dropping out. Can we now put pressures on our straight friends to drop out as well? Hollywood types?

    Posted by: Trasker | Jun 16, 2009 7:09:21 PM

  19. Excellent idea Trasker!

    I think phase 2 of our "enough is enough" movement after being insulted by the Obama administration is get our straight allies to start speaking up. I am sure there are many.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 16, 2009 7:27:13 PM

  20. @ Joshua. Congratulations on coming out. Gayland is far from perfect but it's better to live your life outloud in an imperfect world than die in the closet.

    As for straight allies to start pressuring, the first ones to start with are Steven Spielberg, a HUGE Obama supporter and one of his hosts at the now infamous "I don't know what promises they mean" LA fundraiser, who gave $100,000 to fight Prop H8TE, O's other big supporter-host that night, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave $25,000,and Steven Bing who gave a whopping $500,000...five times what mega rich Ellen did and 500,000 times what mega rich Rosie did.

    It will be a tough sell, because they are more evenly concerned about other issues they believe Dems are better on, but it's worth a try.

    HOWEVER, the rich really to start with are gay David Geffen, Tim Gill, et al.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 16, 2009 9:07:25 PM

  21. I have NO party to belong! I left the repubs over LGBT issues and have tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but he is unfortunately turning into the president that I always thought he would be. He is NOT on our side!

    He clearly stated that marriage was between one man and one woman and we did not hear him. I did! Now I find it humorous that so many of the gay community are seeing the real Obama that I was screaming about during the campaign. Would McCain have been better on LGBT issues? Probably not, but he did not "promise" us that he would be! And we may not have had spent more money than we will EVER be able to repay had McCain won.

    However, we have Obama, the chosen one, and we are stuck with him. I have been told time and time again that the dems are better for us and I am waiting, and waiting and waiting. I will refrain from saying I told you so, but Obama is living up to my concerns to say the least!

    Posted by: RB | Jun 16, 2009 9:38:08 PM

  22. Obama has lied about his support of gay causes.

    This puts all his promises about any subject in doubt.



    Posted by: JQ Public | Jun 16, 2009 9:52:42 PM

  23. Bravo Andy! I donated heavily to Obama's campaign, and have felt incredibly frustrated about his lack of action and seeming dismissiveness about LGBT issues. I don't want to support the Republican party, but I certainly don't want to support the democrats while Obama "Clintonizes" his promises to the LGBT community.

    Well the DOMA brief was the straw that broke the camels back for me. Ever cent I would've donated to the DNC and Obama will now go to gay rights causes. ACLU, Point Foundation, Courage Campaign and the March on Washington.

    It has been days since the uproar over the DOMA brief and total silence from Obama (except to tell us to forget about the DOMA brief and look forward to his administration's upcoming LGBT friendly legislation).

    ENOUGH! Until EVERY SINGLE gay and lesbian person withdraws their financial support for the dems and states CLEARLY why they are doing so, we will continue to be seen as an easy financial target. I'm sure Andy, that you will be covering, in great detail, every single high profile gay and lesbian individual who chooses to attend the fundraiser. I hope to see an empty ballroom. Only when our money is missed and our voices clearly heard, will Obama's administration even consider moving on furthering any of our rights.

    Posted by: Lewis Payton | Jun 16, 2009 10:07:28 PM

  24. Thank you Andy for not going. As a long-time fan, this makes me proud.

    Posted by: farrellcsun | Jun 16, 2009 11:22:25 PM

  25. I signed a petition earlier, and I added that maybe President Obama assumes we wouldn't vote for the other side next time around. He might think he has us no matter what, but I'm thinking maybe folks won't vote at all next time. It's time for Mr. Obama to get some backbone, and start pushing for the LGBT community like we pushed to get him in office. There was some talk this last weekend at the Des Moines Pride that many are feeling that we're getting slid to the back burner again. Turn up the heat folks. It's a great stand your taking too Andy.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 17, 2009 12:16:52 AM

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